September 15, 2008

Spring’s the Time for Gilberts Litter Brigade Cleanup

By Gerard Dziuba

Remember the candy wrapper or newspaper that flew out of your garbage can last November? You had every intention of picking it up when you had more time, or the temperature got warmer?

Now all your excuses - and the snow that hid the blown-away litter - are gone, and it's time to get your gloves on and pick up your yard.

If you live in Gilberts' Timber Trails neighborhood, you'll have even more reason to pick it up if you wait until April 19.

Neighborhood residents will band together on that Saturday morning for their annual cleanup day. This will be the third they've had, said coordinator Angie Douglass. And the cleanup will come in time for Earth Day, which is April 22.

"We hope to get as many residents as possible. We also hope residents in other subdivisions form a group and do the same," she said. "The more people we have, the faster it will go."

While the residents are walking through playgrounds and wooded areas picking up the trash, volunteers linked to the Greater Elgin Area YMCA and local Cub Scout troops will be grooming Waitcus and Memorial parks.

"Last year, we had 50 volunteers from the YMCA," Douglass said. "They get the ball diamonds ready for the (Little League) season. It starts later this month."

This cleanup isn't just a neighborhood project. The entire village gets involved. Trash bags are handed out and volunteers work for a couple of hours in older neighborhoods as well as new ones.

"The first year we did this, we picked up a lot trash," Douglass said. "We walked into a wooded area behind the homes and picked up an old boot, toys and bottles. We thought the next year would be easier, but there was just as much trash then."

Some of the items were thrown there on purpose. Others were caught in the wind on trash days. Now, it's time to get them back into garbage bags, she said.

When the bags are filled, they will be thrown in a village public works truck and taken away. Another chore out of the way for another year.

With more than 1,200 homes, Timber Trails is Gilberts' largest neighborhood. During a long winter like the one northern Illinois just had, lots of garbage can collect along roads and in vacant lots. And the same is true for other neighborhoods.

Residents of other neighborhoods who need tips on forming volunteer forces can call Douglass at (847) 931-1462. Trash bags will be handed out at 8:30 a.m.; organizers hope the job will be done by noon.

"This is a good time of year to do this. Nothing is growing yet, and we can easily see the trash and walk into wooded areas," she said. "Unless it's thundering and lightning - we'll be out there if it's sunny or raining."

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